Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 2 of 9 › view all entries
Istanbul is a city that i both loved and hated. It is the meeting of east and west. The tourist area that i stayed was so far developed i could have been anywhere along the well beaten path...loaded with bars restaurants, and carpet shops. The sites of istanbul are beautiful, Blue mosque at night in amazing, but the three tour busses unloading hundreds of tourists for a photo stop was annoying.
It was amazing the price differences...a kebab for instance was 10-12 lira (about 8 bucks) in the tourist area of Sulyanment. Down at the docks where thousands of locals go to and from work on the ferry system a kebab at a stand is 1 lira or .75 cents.
I shared a dorm room with a very intersting old man. He was a truck driver from Chicago. He was aroudn 70 years old, a vietnam vet, had no teeth, and had two bullet holes in his leg from the war. He has been backpacking around europe/eastern europe for a few months, and has a couple months left. He was a great conversationist, and always would draw a crowd. He also was passionate about travel, and a little crazy...he wanted to take a bus to syria, to go to damascaus, and thought he could get a visa at the boarder, he purchased the ticket and was nearing time to go to the bustation when a person from the travel agency told him that he needed to get a visa from the syrian embassy before leaving the states.
anyway...i started moving down the coast, opting for a quasi=two day tour/hop on hop off bus. I figured this was the best way to see everything on the way down from istanbul to selcuk. We had a great tour of the site of Gallipoli, the site of the bloody fight between the turks and the aussies kiwis and brits. our guide really made the tour, he happeded to be a former navy submarine captain, that spoke 8 languages, and wrote many books on the battle.
next we went down through troy...not impressive, but not as bad as i had heard it to be, the fake wooden horse is a funny site. the ruins of Bergrum were more developed and on top of a hill that provided very good views.
now i'm in selcuk, and about hike the 5 kms to see the epheasus ruins, which are some of the most spectacular in the world... now a couple mroe days in turkey, then off for ashort stay and some long ferry rides in greece.